Mount Agung: Home of the Bali's Gods
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Mountain Stats
- #10 Highest in Southeast Asia
- Gunung Agung
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Agung Indonesia - Natural history
Located in the district of Karangasem, in northeastern Bali is the island nation’s highest point – Mount Agung. Standing 3,031m above sea level, it is believed to be the home of the gods by the Balinese who revere it deeply. It is also the fifth highest volcano in Indonesia. After almost a century in sleep, it erupted in 1962, leading to the most fatal volcanic event in Indonesian history with 15,000 people being killed.
Even though geologists had considered it not to be a threat anymore, it has been volatile even up to this year. It’s now said to be in ‘deflation mode’ and there is a Level 3 warning issued, meaning no climbing beyond a 4km radius from the crater.
Natural Mount Agung Indonesia - Climbing history
Being home to Bali’s Hindu Mother Temple of Besakih, which is located towards the west of the summit – Mount Agung, until very recently, saw Hindus and several pilgrims from Asia and beyond trek to the summit daily, to offer their prayers. Being a demanding yet unforgettable climb, Mount Agung has always been a favourite among visitors – since the 14th century to present day. Most tourists choose the guided day trip package (bargaining is usually involved). The climb is serious, arduous and involves some risks that can be avoided by using the right clothes and gear. Climbers avoid Mount Agung in January and February as it is very wet. The northern ascent route will need you to camp too.
Natural Mount Agung Indonesia - Current status
Despite its violent history and recurring eruptions, Mount Agung is still a crowd-pleasing mountain that is often climbed by locals and tourists. Around 30,000 people gather every year to summit the mountain due to its popularity and relative accessibility. Among all the trails, the one from Besakih is the safest and opted by most. No one climbs the mountain in April as religious ceremonies are held then.
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Climbing Experience
Climbing Agung will take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours depending on the trail. Most trekkers of good fitness levels will be able to tackle the climb. The route from Besakih to the summit is especially challenging in the last hour, where you might be scrambling a bit.
The terrain of Mount Agung can be split into 2 distinct sections: The terrain of lower altitudes is mainly tropical forest, whereas the higher altitudes and summit has less vegetation and more coarse volcanic rock.
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Trail options
There are 3 different trails to choose from depending on the experience, fitness level and preference of the climber. Climbers wishing for a shorter (yet more demanding) trek taking 3 to 6 hours can opt for the Besakih or Duku Bujangga Sakti trail options whilst climbers looking for a longer but less physically demanding trek can opt for the Pura Pusar trail (this takes 10 to 12 hours).
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility
During the months of January and February, heavy rains, floods and landslides are common. At lower altitudes, the climate is tropical and generally the temperate is around 20-25°C. The weather becomes colder at higher altitudes, so packing a warm layer is advised. Wind speeds and gusts also become strong at higher altitudes.
The best time to climb Mount Agung is during the dry months of May to October. Although the weather during the dry months is generally pleasant, do note that small showers can still be experienced from time to time due to the tropical climate. The weather in the morning is generally cooler and less humid than the rest of the day.
Altitude: Climbers should ascend and descend at a steady pace instead of hurrying their way through the route to prevent altitude sickness. Headache, fatigue and nausea are common symptoms.
Falling hazards: Climbers are always recommended to wear suitable hiking boots to tackle the terrain and especially during rainfall when the trails become very slippery and wet. It is highly advised for climbers to take rest till the rain stops. It is also appropriate to have a climbing partner or group to ensure help is at hand.
Cuts and scrapes: A first-aid kit containing antiseptic wipes, muscle pain relief cream and band-aids can also come in handy in case of falls, scrapes and acute pain.
Be cautious when finding guides. Ideally, they should have plenty of local climbing experience and knowledge, and first aid training.
Do not leave your personal belongings such as cameras, phones and passports unattended.
Climbing in groups (especially at night) is sensible and recommended.
Climbing Mount Agung is not allowed during some religious ceremonies, so best ask your tour provider.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
It is required to obtain a climbing permit beforehand. When hiring a guide, climbing permits are mostly included within the price.
Search & Rescue: +62-361-751111
Getting there and away
The nearest airport is the Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar International Airport). Taxis or shared minibuses will take you just about anywhere on the island. The distance covered from the airport to the starting point of Mount Agung is around 23km. The journey can take 1-3 hours to get to the southern reaches of Mount Agung, depending on the traffic (particularly getting through Denpasar). Getting to the northern side of the mountain could take 1-2 hours longer.
The price of climbing Mount Agung through the Besakih Temple trail can cost approximately $95-110 USD per person.
Climbing Mount Agung Indonesia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
Although all of the trails offer a unique experience of Mount Agung, taking the longest and less wandered trail starting from Duku Bujangga Sakti will take you through a range of unforgettable landscapes. Be sure to catch the majestic sunrise and don’t forget to bring your camera. For a more authentic experience, hiring an experienced and recommended guide is a sensible move.
Tips for advanced climbers
Taking the vigorous and challenging route, starting from Pura Pusar Agung Temple is recommended in fine weather. You will come across slippery stones, steep angles, rocks, solidified lava, and dried up stream beds on the way.
Tips for women
Women climbing Mount Agung should not face any special challenges. However, it is best to travel in groups and use a professional and reputable guide or tour service. Avoid unwanted attention or cultural faux pas by taking your dressing cues from locals.
Tips for responsible / safety-conscious climbers
At the time of writing (July 2019), Agung was erupting and very much off limits to climbers. Please check with the local authorities for the latest information about volcanic activity before committing to the climb.
Tips for trail runners
Goatrun.id has organised trail runs at Mount Agung in the past. If these races intrigue you, check up on their upcoming series when planning your visit to Mount Agung.